Majesty 2 – Doing the ‘King’ thing…

August 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

I have recently come to the conclusion that Fable 3 did the whole ‘King’ thing wrong. Not that Fable 3 was a bad game, exactly, but if you look at history and simple logic – Kings were not always the best swords in all the land, they seldom wandered about the country-side slaying demons, rats or collecting animal pelts. And I think I can say with confidence that Prince Charles would never ever wander about London, asking random people if they had anything they needed doing…

Majesty 2 has a slightly more realistic take on the goings on within the castle – why do it yourself when you can throw gold at adventurers/idiots till they do it for you?

Kings aren’t born, they are made… of gold.

The core concept behind Majesty 2 is easy to grasp – you build various buildings within the boundaries of your castle, each of which allow you to train adventurers of various abilities. The Warrior, in heavy armour and with massive sword in hand; the Priest, full of tasty beams of goodness and health points; the Ranger, sure of arrow and cocky of walk; and last, the Rogue, a twat who runs away from everything (except gold). So far, so typical Fantasy-RTS. But no, Majesty 2 has a twist – outside training these units, you can’t actually make them do anything. You are a King, but a King with no voice. Just like in Fable 3

The driving force here, is gold. Your heroes aren’t some faceless drones that will march wherever you happen to think they should; they are here for gold, and that’s about it. In order to get one of your warriors to kill that rat, you are going to have to offer some incentive – a fat sack of gold, for example. To this end, you have several “flags” you can deposit on various things – an “Attack” flag will encourage your little minions to kill whatever you attach it to – throw in a heavy bounty and most, if not all, your heroes will pile on, sharing the bounty between them. A “Defense” flag is useful when one (or more) of the wandering creatures of the world takes a fancy to one of your villager’s homes, or for the pack-mule that comes from one of your Trading Posts, laden with gold. Just remember; the more gold, the quicker heroes will take interest.

There are other flags, but I think you get the drift. With this minimalist control, achieving objectives is less about throwing units at a problem till it dies, and more about economics. You receive village tax gold every few minutes, which is very easily spent way too quickly. Fortunately, you have other means of income – a market place, for example, will return some of your heroes’ reward-cash to you as they buy potions and talismans to bolster their eternal questing. A blacksmith will not only get you gold back from your heroes, but also kit them out with better armour and weapons, making them more effective. Trading Posts are the most lucrative income, and the most vulnerable – as a slow and weak pack-mule must travel from the Post to your Keep, its usually a good idea to stick a hefty “Defend” quest flag on these little donkeys.

At the start of a game, however, you will have little of this income, and every gold piece must be carefully spent. Majesty 2 is a surprisingly brutal game at times – enemy creatures will be in your village, killing your guys, a bit too quick. This is easily prepared for, but in your first few games, you will feel under pressure. Also, there have been times when I felt I was playing World of Warcraft in a god’s-eye mode; my fickle adventurers simply refusing to do what I wanted them to do. A 1000 gold reward on a particularly nasty wolve-den a bit too close to my villager’s homes, yet my two warriors were too busy “Looking for adventure…”, a bug perhaps, but it is kind of endearing to think they are simply little lazy twats…

Another minor complaint is the difficulty spikes. This game is hard at times. A huge number of reviews at release had a fair go at Majesty 2 due to some levels that reach brain-breaking levels of sheer vertical difficulty. I honestly never got too stuck, a few stages had me restarting a few times, but never anything of the like these poor reviewers had – I can only assume these problems were patched out before I bought the game. Either way, consider yourself warned, in case I’m simply that good (hah!).

A mention also must be made towards the multiplayer mode – don’t let the description on Steam fool you – there isn’t one. It does have a broken attempt at one, though, and it is playable – provided you are willing to mess around with Hamachi, and even then the desync problems are rife – I personally never got it to work.

Oddly though, it really doesn’t bother me. This is a lovely little game, with a truly unique control style that baffles and enriches in equal measure. The first time you see your little heroes band together to take down a bear’s den; the warriors tanking, the rangers arrowing, the rogues running (twats), and the priests healing all… it really does make you feel like the guy running the RPG, handing out quests, keeping the potions coming, and making the adventure all the better with shiny bits of yellow metal.

This is how you do the ‘King’ thing.

Majesty 2 is available on Steam for the sum of £7.99, or bundled with all its DLC (3 expansion packs worth) for £14.99.

*Also, a quick thank you to CongoFX, who put me on to this game. A very good call, my fine sir!

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